In April 2000, just as the tech wreck
was taking hold, Steve Vizard agreed to chair the soon-to-be floated
Melbourne-based IT company called Oakton. Vizard bought $500,000 shares
at the $1 float price and was given 900,000 options exercisable at 20c
each two years after the June 2000 float. Not surprisingly, Vizard
exercised the options on 26 June 2002, as you can see here.

Then you have this interesting announcement
to the ASX on 5 September 2002, where Vizard disclosed the sale of 1.1
million Oakton shares for $1.2 million, leaving him with exactly one
million shares. The announcement includes the following ambivalent
line: “Mr Vizard may have an entitlement to shares in Oakton Limited
registered in the name of Performing Arts Services Nominees Pty Ltd as
a beneficiary under this fund totalling 701,800 shares.”

couldn’t find any notice lodged with the ASX explaining when Vizard
bought these shares as the earliest reference is from this announcement
on 14 January 2002. However, the stock was trading below the $1 float
price for several months before, this so it looks like Vizard probably
picked up the extra shares at about 80c each, but didn’t disclose it at
the time.

The next major selldown occurred on 24 November 2004
when Vizard dumped 940,000 of his one million Oakton shares at $1.40 a
pop, raising $1.32 million just four weeks after he chaired last year’s
AGM. His remaining 60,000 shares are worth about $110,000 based on the
recent record high of $1.87.

All up Vizard appears to have
invested a total of about $1.3 million and returned $2.63 million, so
he neatly doubled his money. When you include an estimated $600,000 in
directors fees and dividends, this little technology play has delivered
gross profits and income of about $2 million over five years to the
funny man.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey